“Dillon’s beaten the odds since he was born,” Dr. Annie said. “We’ll find him that liver.”
“Of course,” Matt said, his blue eyes distant. Computing the odds, Julia knew, because she had asked him once when they prayed together, Where do you go when you disappear?
Where the numbers add up, he had said.
She had prayed everywhere. Prayers in a dark closet. Prayers on a mountain top. Prayers in Matt’s car. Prayers in his arms. Prayers in Jerusalem. Prayers in the bathroom.
Don’t lose hope, Matt always said.
Imagine all that Dillon has before him, Matt had said shortly after Dillon was diagnosed with biliary atresia. Infancy became toddlerhood. Look, the Kasai procedure is holding and now he’s made it to kindergarten. Cheer, Julia, because he’s in Little League and wow, can you believe our son won the sixth-grade spelling bee? Listen to his voice squeak Into manhood and whatever you do, sweetheart, pretend you’re impressed by that fuzz on his lip.
Imagine what we have before us, Matt would say. College and a lovely daughter-in-law and bouncing grandchildren and a long life of blessings. Look how our son is beating the odds.
Until three weeks ago–when he wasn’t.
Dr. Annie talked on, her soft voice no veil for the ugly words coming out of her mouth. Hepatic encephalopathy. Coagulopathy. Ascites. Cerebral edema.
Matt’s fingers tightened on Julia’s. He exhaled, his mouth forming a soft o.
“No,” she said. “Don’t.”
Julia jumped up, pulse thundering, hands pressed to her ears to block out Annie’s response.
She staggered to the door, willing God to stop the sun in the sky like he had for Joshua. But from the moment her son had been cast in her womb with a doomed liver, she knew she had no say in the matter.
From somewhere in the gloom, Matt called her name and Dr. Annie said, “I know this is hard.”
Maybe the sun did stand still outside Dr. Annie’s office. Maybe on the other side of this door Dillon was strong and thriving, playing sports and chasing girls and tripping over his feet and being brilliant in one moment and utterly ridiculous in the next. She needed to go to her son and promise he had all the time in the world.
Julia yanked at the door but it didn’t open. So she punched it. And punched it again and still the door wouldn’t open. “Julia, stop,” Matt called out of the distant haze. “Stop it.” She couldn’t stop, just kept punching the door.
Because she couldn’t punch God.
Excerpted from To Know You by Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel. Copyright 2013. All Rights Reserved. Published by Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.